Monday, July 23, 2007

A Demisesquicentennial Celebration

Isn't that a great word? It just means seventy-fifth, but it does look impressive, doesn't it?

Today was Andy's dad's birthday, and it was a big one. Elli and I decided to make a special dinner and dessert and have them over for a little celebration. We searched for the perfect recipes, ran to the store for the items we would need, and then had a wonderful day cooking together, just the two of us (Andy working and Tano gone to summer camp).

Dinner turned out well, fresh lemon and black pepper salmon with a tasty tomatoey-cilantroey-oniony-olive oily sauce, over a bed of couscous, and a side of fresh green beans tossed with olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic and toasted walnuts. It was really very simple and everything worked and the salmon was done just perfectly. It was yummy. Here's the salmon recipe if you care to try it.

Note: The recipe doesn't make nearly enough sauce. I nearly doubled the sauce and could have made even more yet. Also, I substituted real lemon for the lemon-pepper seasoning it called for, added green onions to the sauce and chopped parsely to the couscous, for a little more interest. I was happy with all the changes.

But the main course of the dinner, at least for my daughter and me, was the dessert. We found an old recipe card in my files for something called Frozen Mocha Marble Loaf that caught our attention. I'd never made it, but the official publicity photo, shown here, looked good. The word "loaf" just doesn't thrill me when referring to a frozen dessert, though. We did make it in a loaf pan, so it is accurate, and I do find genuine pleasure in a loaf of good bread, but "loaf" just didn't seem to fit here. The word looked, and still looks ugly to me in the title.

But I digress.

We decided to go for it. Here is the dessert recipe, which I also found online. The mocha flavor in the chocolatey layers was spectacular. Of course, what do you expect when you dissolve two tablespoons of instant coffee into one tablespoon of hot water? That there was some serious sludge that we stirred into the mix.

Anyway, the flavor was amazing and, as I mentioned, the girl and I spent a long time cleaning up (by hand, or at least finger) the bowls and utensils we'd used to make it.

If you do try to make this mocha loaf, I would highly recommend that you freeze it overnight. The recipe recommended freezing it six hours or overnight and we went for the six hour option, but six hours chill time was completely inadequate. It didn't quite set up and was rather soupy in the middle when we tried to slice and serve it. Once we cut into ours, it wasn't very photogenic anymore at all. The photo above shows what it was supposed to look like sliced, but I didn't bother with any photos of ours other than the one here of Elli and her grandpa, one proud of her accomplishment and the other apparently really excited to dig in.

After dinner and dessert, the real party began. A CD of Big Band
music was playing, Duke Ellington, Glen Miller, Benny Goodman and the like, and Elli surprised Grandpa by asking him to dance. How could he refuse? They cut a rug for quite a while, delighting everyone in the room.

Dancing was followed by a bumper pool tournament (we were downstairs in the Young Life hang-out) and a little air hockey, then more dancing and storytelling of days gone by, late into the night.

It was such a nice evening, and although it was a small, simple gathering, I think Andy's dad felt like the demisesquicentennial anniversary of his birth had been celebrated well.

Happy birthday, Dad C. So glad we could be together to celbrate it.


Oh, and here is the link to the cake that we made for Andy last week for his birthday. Ours turned out surprisingly similar to the photo shown, except that we decorated it with fresh strawberries.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a wonderfully fun birthday celebration! Happy Birthday to Tom!

P.S. How about "Mocha Marble Frozen Delight"?

Sherry C said...

That would be a much better name, Mom, for it truly was a delight. But anything is better than "loaf."